Tuesday 01 December 2020

Flood funding to provide additional protection

Flood funding to provide additional protection

Flood emergency funding of £250,000 has been secured to pay for 25,000 tonnes of shingle to be moved to provide protection for sea defences at Torcross and the Slapton Line (A379) road. 

Storms in early 2014 washed away substantial amounts of shingle from Torcross beach and alongside the road. Seasonal weather normally ensures that the shingle returns during the summer but that’s not happened this year and there are now large deposits at the northern end of the Slapton Line at Pilchards Cove.

The project to move the shingle has secured funding through the Environment Agency, following an assessment of beach levels across the South West.  The beach in front of Torcross was found to be unusually low, increasing the wear and strain on the engineered structure that protects the village.

On January 12, work starts to move the shingle from Strete Gate to Torcross. The operation will take eight weeks to complete. The shingle will be transported in large lorries along the A379, and traffic lights will be in place in the area. The Strete Gate car park will be closed entirely to the public during weekdays throughout the works period to facilitate safe lorry loading from the beach.  The works will inevitably cause some local disruption and we ask for patience and understanding from the community.

Though an independent expert report produced in 2006 predicted that the Slapton Line road would ultimately fail, by re-building a section of the road further inland and moving shingle to protect the road strategically, it could be made to last up to a further 20 years.  The Slapton Line Partnership was formed to co-ordinate the activities around achieving this and it has meant close co-operation between its members South Hams District Council, Devon County Council, Natural England, the Environment Agency and local land owners including the Whitley Wildlife Trust.

Cllr John Tucker, Leader of South Hams District Council, said: “This one-off funding from the Environment Agency (EA) is going to be put to maximum effect to ensure the Torcross sea defences are protected.  This project is the fruition of a lot of hard work by officers at the EA, South Hams District Council and Devon County Council, to ensure our ever changing coastal landscape is managed appropriately and sensitively to protect homes and infrastructure.  I would like to personally thank the landowners who have permitted the shingle accumulated on their land to be moved as part of this project.”

Cllr John Baverstock, who represents the Torcross area on South Hams District Council and is a member of the Slapton Line partnership, said: “We always try to respond to the needs of our communities and I’m delighted we can help in this case. Our officers have worked hard to secure this funding at a time when money is tight.

“Beach levels along the Slapton Line are at a very low level and we must remember that the area will always be vulnerable to the power of the sea. Preserving this route for as long as possible is absolutely critical to the area.

“Planning any engineering work in this protected environmentally sensitive area is difficult and involves close co-operation and understanding between the statutory bodies. We hope our communities will be patient and understanding while the work is being carried out.”

Cllr Richard Foss, who represents the upper end of the Slapton Line on South Hams District Council, said: “This work may bring some disruption but the benefits will far  outweigh the inconvenience for all the people living in this area.”


  • The Slapton Line Partnership brings together resources from South Hams District Council, Devon County Council, the Environment Agency, South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Natural England, Slapton Field Centre, and the community, with support from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

  • Publish Date: Monday 5th January 2015